TELECOMS | Nigerians ‘spent $6.6b on recharge cards in 2016’

TELECOMS | Nigerians ‘spent $6.6b on recharge cards in 2016’

TELECOMS | Nigerians ‘spent $6.6b on recharge cards in 2016’

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Nigerian phone consumers spent $6.6 billion on recharge cards to access telecoms services in 2016, according to Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), the nation’s telecoms regulator.

Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman at NCC dropped this hint during a breakfast meeting with ICT Editors on Tuesday in Lagos to underscore the investment opportunities in the vibrant telecoms sector in the country.

The telecoms chief reckons that the country’s  large population is a major indices that would attract investors hoped to  improve the nation’s ability to compete in the global economy.

Official market information puts the telephony connections at 153,514,107 lines and Internet subscribers at 93,176,061 as at Q4 2016, a growth that continues to drive investment in the booming telecoms sector in the country.

”Where ever we go, we put across a very clear message about the investment opportunities in this country. What investors are looking out for is the attractions in the environment they want to invest and one of the key attractions for us in this country is our large population. In 2015 the Nigerian consumer spent $5.6 billion to buy airtime to access communication services, while in 2016 the Nigerian telecoms consumers spent $6.6 billion on airtime. The figures are there to any investor that is interested in our market”, the NCC chief said.

NATCOM must pay, Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman at NCC, insists
Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC

”Where ever we go, we put across a very clear message about the investment opportunities in this country. What investors are looking out for is the attractions in the environment they want to invest and one of the key attractions for us in this country is our large population. In 2015 the Nigerian consumer spent $5.6 billion to buy airtime to access communication services, while in 2016 the Nigerian telecoms consumers spent $6.6 billion on airtime. The figures are there to any investor that is interested in our market”, the NCC chief said.

Speaking further Danbatta gave a status report  on his 8 point agenda envisioned to facilitate broadband penetration, promote innovation, investment, competition and consumer empowerment, among others.

According to him one of the milestones was the intervention of the commission to stave off receivership of Etisalat Nigeria over debts owed some of banks in Nigeria.

Etisalat Nigeria, the number four mobile phone company in the country by subscriber numbers came under a looming threat of takeover by the bank consortium over alleged debt payment default.

Following the takeover threats by the consortium of banks, the Etisalat Nigeria faced a possible receivership, which is a type of corporate bankruptcy in which a receiver is appointed by bankruptcy courts or creditors to run the affected company.

But the Nigerian Communications Commission, the telecoms watchdog and the Central Bank of Nigeria, the banking sector regulator  managed to secure a reprieve to free the mobile phone company from receivership by the creditor banks, the telecoms regulator said.

According to Danbatta, through the intervention of NCC, the banks and the mobile network operator agreed to concrete actions that will bring all parties closest to a resolution”

”Yesterday I received a  top delegation of one of the major shareholders of Etisalat Nigeria”, he added underscoring the efforts underway to stave off the takeover of the mobile phone company by local creditor banks. “But I can assure you that the issue will be resolved amicably.”

Professor. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC (left) seen receiving Waleed al-Muhain, Deputy CEO of Mubadala Development Company at the NCC Head Office in Abuja on Monday, when the team visited the telecoms regulator

Secondly in area of stakeholder engagement Danbatta told editors that he has engaged the Governors’ Forum to push the National Economic Council’s resolution on multiple taxation and multiple regulations. The advocacy has been paying off.

”When we arrived Ogun State some few months ago, no fewer than 47 base stations belonging to IHS, were under lock and key. We were  able to resolve the contentious issues, which led to sealing them at a one-on-one meeting with the state governor, Chief Ibikunle Amosun. The Governor also reduced ground rent fee owed from N370 million to N120 million, courtesy of the visit.”

Also the year 2017 is dedicated to the Nigerian Telecom Consumer. Following a management decision that compels NCC to seek to amplify the year’s activities towards ensuring that the consumer enjoys a customer experience that is enhanced and consistent in time and quality.

”Almost two months ago (March 15) NCC flagged off a national campaign of the Year of the Nigerian Telecom Consumer at its Headquarters in Abuja. Sixty days hence, I am glad, we can report some progress resulting in increase in the activation of the Do-Not-Disturb short code using the 2442 facility, by more than one million consumers in this short span. More subscribers reported their unresolved complaints using NCC’s 622 toll-free lines in the same period.”

Highlighting some of his key achievements in the last 16 months, Danabatta however outlined some of the challenges faced by the regulator and top on the list is the worrisome Quality of  Service (QoS) offered by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).

” This is a source of worry for the regulator. Data from the tail end of 2016 from QoS indicated a deterioration in the QoS in major towns in the country. Specifically we concentrated on two Key Performance Indicators(KPIs) that is the Call drop rate and call success set up rate”, the watchdog chief said.

According to him, the benchmark for  call drop rate was 1% meaning that one one call out of 99 calls will drop , a stringent KPI for the operators and 98% for call success set up rate, meaning 98% of calls must be successful.

”But figures from KPI from the tail end of 2016 indicated that we are no where near that threshold. But in the first quarter of 2017 we notice a slight improvement in the QoS with regards to the KPIs but there is still a large gap to bridge in other to attain the standard QoS and we are engaging major stakeholders to address this challenges”,he added.

 

 

 

Kolade Akinola Technology Journalist at Technology Times Mobile: + 234 (0) 807 401 6027

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